#54 – About Money, Retirement and Winning the Lottery

After I retire, this is where I’ll spend my winters

Today, I pulled question #54:  How much money would you have to win in order to feel comfortable quitting your current job?

I looked up what I would need to retire,  because I had no idea.  Considering how close I am to retirement, that’s pretty scary.  I obviously like to live in a little bubble of ignorant bliss.  Here’s what I found out:

According to my research, because I am a single person, a middle class lifestyle is going to cost me about $28,000 to $42,000 per year after retirement.  Of that, the government is probably, given my work history, going to contribute at least $15,000.  So I have to contribute, from savings and my retirement portfolio, or from income, at least $13,000.  The table I gathered this data from says I will need $325,000 in my portfolio but I multiplied $13,000 by 20 (expecting 20 years more of life) and ended up with $260,000.

Okay maybe I should plan on living longer, so perhaps $325,000 would be better.  And of course, as they reminded me, prices are going to go up over the next twenty years.

A lot of the calculation is guess work and will vary depending on several factors like whether you have to pay a mortgage or not.  I have recently upped my mortgage payments with the intent of getting it all paid off before I retire.

I do have fairly expensive hobbies; painting canvasses and paints are expensive.  I would really like to get a degree in fine arts after I retire and even though the local university only charges a senior 50% of the usual tuition, it’s still a lot of money.  I’m not likely to suddenly become famous and be able to charge an arm and a leg for my paintings so I probably won’t even offset the cost of producing a painting.  Maybe after I’m dead.

I have a friend who now, in retirement, takes an around the world trip every year.  I’d like to do that, although unlike her, I think I’ll take it on a cruise ship rather than having to fly from place to place.  So I’m looking at approximately $50,000 per year for that.

I used to think I wouldn’t quit my job unless I won at least $4,000,000 but I was intending at that point to give a chunk to my son and other deserving relatives.  The deserving relatives are rapidly becoming undeserving in my view and my son and his wife both have good jobs.  Therefore, I am only going to worry about what I need to win to guarantee a relaxed and comfortable retirement.  So sorry, everyone!

So my calculations, including a cruise every year, leads me to believe I could retire comfortably if I won $2,250,000 million.  Okay so maybe I won’t take a cruise every single year and I could bring it down by about a million.

Let’s face it a million doesn’t go far nowadays.  But on the other hand, I live in Canada.

Okay, so if I won a million I could retire if I wanted to.  Probably what would happen, even if I won only $500,000, is that the very first time I was snippy about something or didn’t like a project I was assigned to, I’d think, “I’m outa here.” And I’d be gone.

But no matter what, retirement to me doesn’t mean sitting on the porch.  I will probably always be working.  I’ve had my own business since 1981 and I’d continue to have my own business.  I’m actually looking forward to having more time for my business, my writing, my painting, my workshops.  So hopefully, I’ll be continuing to make money long past retirement.

Winning even a million would make it just that much more relaxed and fun.  Tomorrow night’s draw if for $43 million.  I would definitely retire if I won that.

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#39 About Choices, Decisions and Fear

Question 39 is ‘Do you ever second guess yourself? Which one do you usually go with—the first or second thought? Does that usually turn out for the best or should you perhaps rethink your strategy?’

First or second?  How about third, fourth, fifth …and so on?  I’m a Libra.  That’s what Libras do.  I can argue all sides of an issue and still not make up my mind.

I used to work as part of a team made up of nothing but Libras.  Our team meetings were a hoot.  We would all start off with our own opinions and then argue loudly and heatedly and end up with everyone on the opposite side by the end of the meeting.  But we all loved each other and it was actually great fun…until we got a new boss who was a Taurus.  But that’s a whole different question.  I’m pretty sure I have one about worst bosses ever.

I have heard that, when doing a multiple choice quiz, you should always go with your first thought.  Sounds like a good rule and certainly one that would make test-taking easier.

But life isn’t always that simple and as a career coach I have seen people suffering from ‘paralysis by analysis’.  They cannot make up their minds and end up doing nothing.   Sometimes people are immobilized because they just see so many options.  Sometimes they can’t see all the options that are available to them.  But either way, making a decision is scary because people are so afraid of making the WRONG choice.

Well I have a solution.  Here we go:

1.  Remember, you cannot predict the future.  All you can do is make a decision based on what you know and the resources you have available right now.  You have to accept that ‘right now’ is a moment in time and that after you make the decision all kinds of things might change.  But if you made the best choice you could based on ‘right now’, let go and don’t beat yourself when things change.

2.  Do your research and then stop and make the frikken decision! Don’t research endlessly.  Do the best research you can and then make the decision based on what you know ‘right now’.  Over-researching is a sure route to ‘paralysis by analysis’.

3. Be open minded and list all the options you can think of.  Don’t limit yourself and the possibilities

4. Don’t bother with pros and cons.  Focus on the pros for each option.  People like to make lists of pros and cons.  I know I used to do it too.  The problem with pros and cons is that it sets up an expectation that there are good choices and bad choices.  When you don’t know what the future will bring, you are really just arbitrarily labelling and scaring yourself in the process.  Instead use a technique introduced by Susan Jeffers in her book, ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’.  I’ve used this for years in my career coaching practice and I have to attest that it does take away some of the fear associated with making a decision.  Here’s how it works:  list all the options across the top of the page and then list the good things about each option under that option.

5.  When you’ve come up with all your options and listed the good things about each one, count them up.  The option with the most pros—wins!

6.  Remember, you sometimes don’t have to choose just one.  Sometimes, you can see that one option is the most loved and has the most pros but it’s not possible right now.  Sometimes, you can see that one option is best ‘right now’ but that you can work towards the most-loved and best option so that you can pursue it at a later date.

Using this process has been a real help for me in making decisions.  Give it a try.

My basic philosophy is ‘lighten up’.  Life is an unfolding.  You allow one opportunity to unfold and then others that are completely out of sight suddenly appear and offer a whole new path for you to explore.